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UND President to re-examine number of sports, conference affiliation after budget shortfall

In an e-mail to the UND campus, new president Mark Kennedy says he will re-examine the number of sports and conference participation after a budget shortfall of approximately $1.4 million last year.

UND has already cut the baseball program and has said it will cut men's golf if it doesn't raise the sufficient funds in the next couple of years.

Related: UND's Kennedy: Sports could see more cuts

Kennedy wrote in the e-mail that he is "pro-Athletics" but says the school needs to "take a hard look at our athletics program with an eye to ensuring we have the right number and mix of Division I athletic programs. I want to conclude that process by the end of the calendar year."

Here is the e-mail:

Dear Campus Community:

I want to make you aware that UND Athletics ended FY16 with a shortfall of approximately $1.4 million. This is a disappointment to me, and I am taking steps to address it.

Effective immediately, the chief financial officer for Athletics will now report directly to the Associate Vice President for Finance. This tightening of fiscal controls will benefit Athletics as well as the University.

Last week I announced Laurie Betting, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, and Dana Harsell, Chair of University Senate, as co-chairs of a University planning process. As a companion to that process, I am asking a subgroup of the elected Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC) to examine UND Athletics to make sure we have an athletics program that best fits the University of North Dakota in terms of a number of factors, including the sports we participate in, conference participation, the number of athletes that we serve, and the cost of the programs.  The IAC serves as an advisory committee to University Senate and my office, making recommendations on matters pertaining to institutional control of the athletics program; the academic and financial integrity of intercollegiate athletics; the academic and personal well-being of student-athletes; gender equity; non-discrimination and diversity; and the accountability of the athletics program to the values and mission of the University. 

This action is a continuation of a conversation started by Interim President Ed Schafer, who suggested that the University take a hard look at our athletics program with an eye to ensuring we have the right number and mix of Division I athletic programs. I want to conclude that process by the end of the calendar year.

I want to be clear: I am pro-Athletics. I am proud of our student-athletes, who are successful as athletes and who perform well in the classroom. They are also engaged in the community, contributing more than 9,500 hours of service in FY16.  But I also want to be clear that we need to make sure we have Athletics program that is the right fit for the University. I appreciate the committee helping us with this important task.

Mark Kennedy

President

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

(701) 780-1129
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